The number of armed conflicts worldwide has reached a new high. The lives of around two billion people are shaped by war, violent conflict, and their ramifications, which are impeding the positive development of entire countries and regions. Many peace processes falter and fail after an average of just seven years. Why have previous approaches generally met with such little success? And which paths can lead to lasting peace? The “Principles for Peace” initiative, led by Interpeace in Geneva, aims to find answers to these questions.
Official launch of the initiative Principles for Peace: Coordinator Hiba Qasas (left) talking to Scott Weber, Interpeace.
“Our current approach to peacemaking is not sufficient,” says Bert Koenders, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. “We have to do things differently. This means we will have to move beyond top-down approaches that use the same toolbox that treats every country the same.” Koenders has set himself the challenge of finding congruous approaches to peacemaking for the 21st century. As a member of the Commission For Inclusive Peace, which has members from across the globe, he and other experienced policymakers and practitioners are examining the shortcomings of existing approaches to peacekeeping and consolidation. In doing so, their primary focus is on those directly affected by conflict. The Commission also pays particular attention to marginalized population groups. Overall, its work will incorporate the experiences of over 42 countries.
Bert Koenders, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, calls for new, congruous approaches to peacemaking for the 21st century.
Combining local and global approaches
Principles for Peace is supported by the governments of Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, as well as by the Robert Bosch Stiftung. “What sets Principles for Peace apart is how the project combines local and global perspectives,” explains Atje Drexler, Senior Vice President International Understanding and Cooperation at the Robert Bosch Stiftung. “The initiative is, therefore, ideally placed to develop widely accepted guidelines that will change the way people think and act when it comes to peace processes.”
Involving hundreds of thousands of people
The international Commission’s work is based on a bottom-up process involving hundreds of thousands of people with experience of conflict and peace processes. The initiative also has the support of an extensive stakeholder forum of international and local organizations working to build peace across the globe. What’s more, over the next two years, the Commission will hold global consultations at the international, regional, national, and local levels and will be informed by leading researchers on the lessons learned from previous peacemaking processes.
The members of the new Commission for Inclusive Peace are:
- Bernardo Arévalo de León, Guatemala. Member of the Guatemalan Congress and former Guatemalan Deputy Foreign Minister.
- Yves Daccord, Switzerland. Former Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
- Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, Canada. Former Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda and former Canadian Senator.
- Ilwad Elman, Somalia/Canada. Peace activist, co-founder of the “Elman Peace and Human Rights Center”.
- Frederic Gateretse Ngoga, Burundi. Ambassador, Head of the Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division at the African Union Commission.
- HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, Jordan. Chief Adviser for Religious and Cultural Affairs to His Majesty the King of Jordan.
- Bert Koenders, The Netherlands. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and UN Special Representative in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.
- Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, Iran/United Kingdom. Founder and Executive Director of the “International Civil Society Action Network” (ICAN) and Director of the “Center for Women, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics”.
- Teresita Quintos Deles, Philippines. Peacemaker and activist.
- Naheed Sarabi, Afghanistan. Former Deputy Minister of Finance and former Deputy for the Secretariat for Peace Loya Jirga in Afghanistan.
- Rory Stewart. United Kingdom. Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute, Yale University, former Minister of State in the British Foreign Office.
- Annika Söder, Sweden. Ambassador, former State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Sweden.